5/25: Around the Cubs Minor League System

Here is a recap of the Cubs minor league system from 5/25/12, enjoy.


FULL BOX SCORE

Peoria jumped out to an early 2-0 lead and that was all they needed as they knocked off Clinton 3-1.  Starling Peralta was very good for the Chiefs as he worked four innings only allowing one run on five hits while walking one and striking out two.  Zeke DeVoss got things started at the top as he was 2-for-4 at the plate with a double and a run scored.  Paul Hoilman continues to hit the ball hard as he went 1-for-4 with a triple and an RBI, he is now hitting .298 on the season.

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FULL BOX SCORE

Heartbreaking, that’s the only way you can describe the D-Cubs loss to Clearwater as they fell 2-1, giving up both runs in the top of the ninth.  The blown save spoiled Austin Kirk’s outstanding performance on the mound.  Kirk, who has been one of the best pitchers in the Cubs organization this year went 8 scoreless innings, only allowing seven hits, walking none, and striking out four, his ERA is now at 2.34 on the season.  Micah Gibbs, Rubi Silva, and Dustin Harrington all had three hits at the plate as Daytona finished with one run on nine hits.

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FULL BOX SCORE

The Smokies held Mobile in check all night, but that was almost not good enough as Mobile’s comeback came up short giving the Smokies a 4-3 win.  Mobile only had two hits on the night, but managed to plate three runs, timely hitting I guess.  Eric Jokisch was really good for the Smokies tossing five innings of one hit baseball, he only allowed two runs, walked one, and struck out three.  Kevin Rhoderick came on in relief and was lights out, what else is new, his ERA drops to 0.90 on the season.  Luis Flores was 2-for-4 at the plate with a double, a home run and an RBI.  Jae-Hoon Ha popped his second home run of the season, and James Adduci finished his day 2-for-2, he’s now hitting .312 on the year.

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FULL BOX SCORE

Anthony Rizzo did not start so might as well skip this game, I’m kidding of course.  Rodrigo Lopez started this game and left after one pitch with a sore groin.  Jay Jackson jumped into duty and was terrific going five innings allowing one run on three hits, he walked two, and struck out five.  Carlos Marmol got some work in on his way back to the Cubs, he worked one inning, giving up a hit and a walk with a strike out.  The I-Cubs only managed five hits, but had just enough to pull out a 2-1 win.  Luis Valbuena was 1-for-4 at the plates with a game winning solo home run in the ninth inning.

Thanks for reading,
– George

Less Than Perfect 10, Cubs Streak Continues

I think Dale Sveum said it best after this one, “I’m a little lost for words now. It’s kind of the same thing” you’re not the only one Dale.  Just when you think the Cubs have found every way possible to lose a game they go out and find another excruciating way to do so.  Ryan Dempster was on the mound again for the Cubs so odds are it was going to be a low scoring game, and it was.  Dempster was brilliant, what else is new?  He went 7 and 1/3rd and only gave up one run on seven hits.  Dempster had his command once again tonight as he only walked one guy while striking out seven, his ERA drops to 2.14, and his record falls to 0-3, amazing.  Offensively the Cubs actually had something going, they pounded out 10 hits, but couldn’t push any runs across the plate, that’s hard to do.  Starlin Castro, hitting in the two-hole for the first time this year was 2-for-5, but made the final out of the game by striking out against Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan with the tying run on third.  David DeJesus made the biggest out just before Castro as he struck out looking with said tying run on third when a fly ball would have got the job done.  Just terrible, the Cubs were 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position and left 11 guys on base, what more is there to say, that tells you everything you need to know.  Full box score, and highlights after the jump.

Continue reading “Less Than Perfect 10, Cubs Streak Continues”

Behind Enemy Lines – Pirates

New feature boys and girls!  In “behind enemy lines” we invite a blogger from an opposing team to preview the upcoming series from their side of things, hope you enjoy it!  Today, Alex who runs Manny Sanguillen’s Barbecue (A pirates blog) gives us a first hand look at the Pirates heading into this series.  You can follow Alex on Twitter @Sangys_BBQ

Your Chicago Cubs have lost nine games in a row and it doesn’t look like there will be a saving grace. The Pirates are looking to extend the Cubs losing streak to at least ten games, which would be their first double-digit losing streak since 1997, when they lost 14 in a row. The good news for those who want the record to stand is that the Pirates haven’t won on a Friday this season — they have even been shut out three times, which includes a near no-hitter tossed by Justin Verlander on the 18th.

Pirates’ Pitching

The best thing for the Pirates this season has been their pitching, and by a large margin. Their team ERA of 3.33 is third in the National League.

Game 1: A.J. Burnett (2-2, 4.78 ERA)

A.J. Burnett is the best Pirates starter this season and by far. Despite his ERA hovering around 5.00, Burnett has only had one rocky start, which was a 2 2/3 inning debacle against the St. Louis Cardinals in which he allowed 12 runs. If you subtract that game, his ERA is 2.06, which would be fifth in the Majors and the National League. At home this season, Burnett has a 1.57 ERA in three starts, as well as a WHIP of 0.78 and a K/9 ratio of 8.2. Over his career against the Cubs, Burnett is 4-0 with a 4.06 ERA in five starts – not so good, but the last time A.J. Burnett threw in the National League was in 2005. This game seems to be the rubber match of the series, with Burnett and Dempster going at it.

Game 2: Kevin Correia (1-5, 4.50 ERA)

The whipping boy of the Pirates’ rotation takes the bump on Saturday for game two of the three-game set. When the Pirates acquired A.J. Burnett over the offseason, oddly enough the man who is starting the day before him, Correia was expected to be the odd man out of the rotation, or even demoted to AAA. When Burnett shattered his orbital bones in Spring Training during Clint Hurdle’s annual bunting tournament, which really does exist, and Charlie Morton wasn’t ready for the season, Correia got another chance. His 4.50 ERA and 1.07 K/BB ratio show exactly why he wasn’t expected to be in the rotation at the beginning of the season. Last season, Correia was better on the road than at home, as evidenced by his home/away splits from the 2011 season. However, his home/road splits have been nearly equal this season, having an ERA of 4.50 at both PNC Park and on the road, albeit having three less starts at PNC. Last season against your Cubs, Correia was absolutely terribad. In four starts, Correia somehow broke even at 2-2 despite having an ERA of 7.11 and a God-awful 1.79 WHIP. I don’t care if you’ve scored what the Pirates have this season (2.9 runs per game), when this guy is taking the mound, you have a good chance of winning.

Game 3: Erik Bedard (2-5, 3.52 ERA)

The second new member of the Pirates’ rotation, and the only southpaw, climbs the mound for the ultimate game of the intra-division three-game set. Surprisingly, the injury-ridden Bedard has only missed one start this season after suffering back spasms on May 9th against the Washington Nationals. Bedard has been rocked for eight runs in his past two games after suffering the back spasms, raising his ERA from 2.57 on May 9th to 3.52 on May 21st. Oddly enough, Bedard has never thrown a pitch against the Chicago Cubs in his career, one of only five teams that he has never pitched against. Bedard performs fairly well at home as opposed to on the road, going 0-2, which is a horrible indicator of his performance, with an ERA of 3.15 and a WHIP of 1.35.

HOT

Andrew McCutchen has been tearing the league a new you-know-what over his past 15 games. In those 15 games, McCutchen has hit .400/.426/.764, yes, he has a slugging percentage of .764, with six home runs (of his seven season roundtrippers), and 16 RBI. Rod Barajas has been warm, but not hot, over his last ten games, hitting a triple-slash of .343/.351/.686 with three home runs. I would really like to say that other players have been hot lately, but there have only been two, which is pretty good — if you’re a Cubs fan.

COLD

The Pirates have a boatload of cold players, but I’m only going to name a few. Neil Walker has been ice-cold over his last ten games, hitting .205/.222/.341 and has cost the Pirates 1.33 wins. His on-base percentage has dipped from .331 to .299, and his slugging percentage from .679 to .631. Walker is not the only infielder who has been cold as of late, as Pedro Alvarez joined him in his descent from mediocrity. In his past ten starts, Alvarez has hit an appalling .189/.244/.270 slash line, going from the hottest Pirates player to the coldest.

Prediction

Typically if I were writing this, the Pirates would be looking up at the Cubs in the standings. Sadly for Cubs fans (but great for myself, a long-suffering Pirate fan), the Cubs are sitting at the bottom of the NL Central and the Pirates are smack dab in the middle. I don’t expect the Cubs’ 9-game losing streak to end any time soon, and the Buccos have a good chance of sweeping the Cubs, as much as I am shocked to say it. As long as the pitching can hold up, the Pirates will win, but if the pitching fails there is no chance for the Pirates. The Cubs’ game plan should be to get ’em on, get ’em over, get ’em in, kind of like the small-ball that Clint Hurdle has instituted with the Pirates.

Thanks again to Alex for contributing to our blog and giving us an inside look at the Pirates

– George

The Kyler Burke Story

Peoria got another stellar outing from LHP Kyler Burke last night as he went 6 innings giving up 2 hits and allowing no earned runs.  He recorded his first win of the season dropping his ERA to 2.31.  The 25-year-old has enjoyed success thus far as a pitcher dating back to last year at Boise where he pitched out of the bullpen.  He ended the season with a 2.86 ERA in 44 innings pitched including one save while striking out just over one batter per inning.

So what makes Kyler Burke so interesting?  Well we need to get in the time machine and go back a few years to 2007 when Michael Barrett was on the wrong side of Carlos Zambrano’s fists.  Shortly after that memorable June day the Cubs traded Barrett to the Padres for two players.  Most of us remember or are trying to forget that we received catcher Rob Bowen, but many don’t recall the centerpiece in the deal was a 19-year-old OF who was drafted 35th overall in just the previous years draft.  That player was Kyler Burke and the Cubs were very happy to acquire the talented outfielder.  Burke’s next few seasons were plagued by drastic inconsistency with the highlight coming in 2009 when he was named the Cubs Minor League Player of the Year.  He hit .303 with 15 HR, and 89 RBI’s in Peoria.  The next year however was when things took a turn for the worse, while in Daytona Burke hit only .212 with 131 strikeouts in 135 games.  The following March the Cubs and Burke, who had pitched in high school, decided it was time for a change and with that Kyler Burke began his new career as a pitcher.

The Cubs have to be happy with his progress thus far, as he is doing quite well in only his second year as a pitcher.  Burke recently has moved from the pen to the starting rotation for Peoria with pretty good results.  Where will Kyler Burke go from here we don’t know, but with a premium on quality left-handed arms out of the bullpen it is hard to think he won’t make it to the show as a big league pitcher sometime down the road.  As long as it seems Kyler Burke’s story has been, it really has just begun.  The best of luck to him on his continued development and we hope to see him at Wrigley somtime in the future.

Thanks for Reading,
Mark

May 25, 2012 – Cubs Lineup vs. Pirates

The Cubs look to avoid a double digit losing streak and hope to get Ryan Dempster his first win of the season as the they take on the Pirates.  Here is how the Cubs will line up.

1. DeJesus – RF
2. Castro – SS
3. Mather – CF
4. LaHair – 1B
5. Soriano – LF
6. Stewart – 3B
7. Barney – 2B
8. Hill – C
9. Dempster – P

Thanks, go Cubs!
– George

5/24: Around the Cubs Minor League System

Here is a recap of the Cubs minor league system from 5/24/12, enjoy.

FULL BOX SCORE

Kyler Burke was fantastic yet again on Thursday night as he earned his first win of the season going six innings only allowing one run, unearned on two hits, his ERA dropped to 2.31 on the season.  The Chiefs had the bats going as they pounded out 13 hits, every Chiefs player had a hit in the win.  Oliver Zapata was 3-for-4 with a double, a run, and two RBI’s. he’s now hitting .284 on the season.

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FULL BOX SCORE

Daytona was in a hitting mood as they knocked out 11 hits, unfortunately they couldn’t string anything together and fell to St. Lucie 5-2.  Greg Rohan continued his solid season as he went 3-for-4 with a double, a home run and an RBI.  Ryan Searle struggled on the mound for the D-Cubs as he dropped his first game of the season.  Searle only last 3 and 2/3rds while giving up three runs on six hits in the loss.

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FULL BOX SCORE

Junior Lake won’t stop hitting, and that’s a good thing, the young star in the making was 2-for-4 in the loss, his average is now at .328 on the season.  Dallas Beeler struggled with his command in this one, however Beeler still battled through six innings earning a quality start.  Unfortunately the Smokies offense couldn’t plate another run and Beeler was hung with the loss as he dropped to 1-4 on the season.

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FULL BOX SCORE

Sorry boys and girls, Anthony Rizzo didn’t hit a home run today, he did rope a double off the top of the wall so he came close at least.  The I-Cubs fell behind early and often and couldn’t dig out of that hole as they fell to Tacoma 7-2.  Brett Jackson and Ty Wright each had two hits, but the I-Cubs could only muster a total of 8 knocks in the loss.  Chris Rusin finally had a rough outing as he only lasted four innings while allowing four runs, three earned, on seven hits to take his 4th loss of the season.

Thanks for reading,
– George

May 25 – 27; @ Pirates – Series Preview

Pittsburgh Pirates Logo - A pirate inside a yellow diamond with 'Pirates' above

Normally I would preview this series as the Cubs taking on a lesser opponent in the Pirates, only because that’s how it’s been forever, unfortunately the shoe is on the other foot right now.  The Cubs are the worst team in baseball, and that’s just by looking at their record, sure the Pirates haven’t been good either, but the Cubs are a low scoring soccer team right now, that’s not a compliment, and I hate soccer so that’s hard for me to say.  The Cubs offense wasn’t very good in the early part of the season, but it has reached a new level of bad during this nine game losing streak.  If the Cubs are going to get out of this slide they need to explode, I’m talking 6-9 runs in one game… I know, crazy.  Maybe if they do that the pressure will be off and they can all relax, until then they will continue to squeeze the saw dust out of the bat and lose.  It won’t be easy because one, it never is with this team, and two, the Pirates boast the 3rd best team ERA in the National League.  Full preview/breakdown after the jump.

Continue reading “May 25 – 27; @ Pirates – Series Preview”